Bananas are a definitely a tropical treat, but because they come in bunches, eating them before they become overripe can be a challenge. There are some tricks to keeping bananas from ripening too fast that will help you reduce waste and allow you choose those bigger and prettier bunches of bananas when you go to the grocery store.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
Choose bananas based on when you want to use them. All bananas are picked green, so green bananas are a good choice if you want them to last for a while once you get them home.
Choose the best bananas. There's an art to picking a banana. Bananas should be firm to the touch. They should have attached stems and tips, smell clean and fresh and be free of bruises or cuts. Ripe bananas should have a creamy, yellow skin. The curve and size of the banana has no bearing on its sweetness.
Pay attention to the temperature. Bananas ripen fast in warm weather. Once the temperature gets into the high 70s, they'll start to mature quickly, so keep the temperature low if you want them to stay green for a while. You can do this by keeping them in the basement or any other cool location that isn't refrigerated. The refrigerator is too cold for green bananas. If you place a green banana in the refrigerator, it will stop ripening altogether. Forever.
Keep bananas away from other fruits and vegetables. The ethylene gas released by fruits and vegetables aids in the ripening process. To protect your bananas from exposure to ethylene gas, keep them as far away from other produce as you can.
Store ripe bananas in the refrigerator. Once the green has changed to yellow on both ends of the banana, it's ripe. That's when you can safely place it in the refrigerator for a few days. The peel of ripe bananas stored in the refrigerator will start to brown. This won't affect the taste.
Tips and warnings
- Bananas are an excellent source of vitamin B6, vitamin C and potassium.
- After bananas ripen naturally, they have about 48 hours before they start to turn. That 48-hour window is the best time in which to refrigerate them.
- Never store bananas in plastic bags. They will give off ethylene gas that, trapped in the bag, will accelerate the ripening process.